Guildmaster, Atlantia Brewers’ Guild
Author Archives: Elspeth
Guildmaster, Atlantia Brewers’ Guild
Vivant the entrants in this year’s Royal Brewer competition!
Lord Jaume organized early and organized well. He published the Royal Brewer competition requirements, as one does if one is the current Royal Brewer and Kingdom Arts and Sciences is coming up. He also read Kingdom law (!) to find that the judges are supposed to include the Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences (KMoAS) or designated representative, and Their Majesties or their designated representative. (The ultimate decision for Royal Brewer is up to Their Majesties – it’s not necessarily the scored result of the competition that is the deciding factor – so it’s important that they have someone at the table if possible.)
Lord Etienne le Mons’ promised Jaume to designate a surrogate, since he’s KMoAS and Kingdom A&S is a pretty busy day for him. But – and this is new in my experience – Jaume secured Their Most August Majesties Christoph and Adelheit themselves to come taste, and consider. Their Majesties came to the Royal Brewer table first thing in the morning (!!), and proceeded from us to the Royal Baker competition sharing a room with us. I may have overheard a quiet comment that they were glad to see there was bread next.
Now, Their Majesties are not brewing judges and don’t pretend to be, so Jaume guided them in the sorts of questions one asks when one is tasting. First and foremost, do We like it? Is it especially nice? Anything off or unpleasant? Her Majesty had a preference for sweeter tastes than His Majesty, so She particularly appreciated the range of cordials Lord Eirikr ulfr þorrison entered. I kept notes of their comments for the judges to use later. I also kept track of which beverages they especially liked…
Next up, Jaume and the KMoAS’ designate, Master James of Middle Aston, tasted each entry and scored them according to the familiar Guild form that Jaume had announced he would use. Master James knows a thing or two about brewing himself and has helped us out before. They consulted the notes about Their Majesties’ preferences and conferred carefully.
Jaume was involved in a (particularly delightful) Commedia presentation, so he gave me the results and sent me off to the Royal Room to report in and await Their Majesties’ decision. Results were close, and it was gratifying to see that Their Majesties took the decision really seriously, taking time to decide. When all was said and done, Lord Seamus MacWhellan was declared this year’s Royal Brewer.
As for me, other than taking notes for Their Majesties and doing some scampering about for Jaume, I had only one more task – asking the brewers of the beverages Their Majesties liked best whether they minded too much if that bottle didn’t go home with them. Of course, everyone said yes – interestingly, Their Majesties commented on particularly liking at least one entry from each brewer. I packed up a carton of resealed bottles very carefully and stowed it in the back of the Royal Conveyance. It is quite an honor to have your brew personally chosen by Their Majesties. It is quite a pleasure to have Their Majesties take such an interest in our wares!
So Vivat! for our accomplished contestants, Vivat! for Lord Seamus, and a special Vivant! for Their Majesties who appreciate a good homebrew!
Someone asked me at an event about legal drinking ages, so here’s the word…
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website says this:
“All states prohibit providing alcohol to persons under 21, although states may have limited exceptions relating to lawful employment, religious activities, or consent by a parent, guardian, or spouse. Among states that have an exception related to such family member consent, that exception often is limited to specific locations (such as private locations, private residences, or in the parent or guardian’s home.) No state has an exception that permits anyone other than a family member to provide alcohol to a minor on private property. In addition, many states have laws that provide that “social hosts” are responsible for underage drinking events on property they own, lease, or otherwise control, whether or not the social host actually provides the alcohol.”
First of all, our events are in public places, though it may not feel like it in a quiet park or indoor hall. At events we obey the law – the law of the city/county, state, and nation we’re in. We don’t have “discreetly damp” sites, they’re either wet or dry, by agreement with the owner. We really can’t afford to lose great event sites, or suffer the hit to our reputation when it comes to renting a site. I’ve seen more than one group thrown permanently off a site over alcohol.
The Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, establishing 21 as the minimum legal consumption and/or purchase age. It’s enforced by state and local authorities, since states stand to lose 10% of their Federal highway funding if they don’t.
Some states allow consumption when a family member consents and/or is present. Presumably, the family member is over 21. States often define exactly which relatives my consent and in which circumstances the exception applies.
Some States allow an exception for consumption on private property. Our events are rarely if ever on private property. In addition to that, some states specify what kind of private property can be exempted – private residences only, the home of a parent or guardian only, etc. In some jurisdictions, the parent, legal guardian, or legal-age spouse (yikes) must be present.
Some States also allow exceptions for educational purposes (e.g., students in culinary schools), religious purposes (e.g., sacramental use of alcoholic beverages), or medical purposes. This gave me a moment of hope – education is, if not the heart of the Brewers Guild, then the pericardium surrounding and supporting the heart. But no, the law gets into definitions of what “educational purposes” are, and the SCA doesn’t quite pass muster.
So ignore for a moment that Georgia does not limit consumption by the under-age. Virginia and Maryland require both the location and the presence of a supervising relative to be in force. The Carolinas and the District of Columbia make no exceptions at all to the Federal drinking age. SCA events don’t qualify even where exemptions exist, and Federal law trumps all anyway.
Besides, we’d be setting up our young’uns for a fall. Some U.S. states have legislation that make providing to and possession of alcohol by persons under twenty-one a gross misdemeanor with a potential of a $5,000 fine and a year or more in jail. All it would take is one unhappy park ranger or local policeman.
So card your drinkers, people. Sometimes you can get Troll to do it, and mark people’s hands or persons, preferably in a period way. Don’t leave a tapped keg unattended – have a keg sentinel who cards everyone who comes for a tasty beverage. That person can even stand guard with a spear if they want (as long as they’re not drinking). Carding makes me feel pretty self-conscious, but I’ve never had anyone give me trouble over it.
True story: we were running a big demo at the National Geographic building for the Staffordshire Hoard display. We had something like 750 people come through that day; it was enormous fun. I was staffing a mead/hard cider station, and we carded everyone who came for a sample. I had just carded the man who had the earliest birthdate we saw that day – 1933! This gentleman laughed, and his friend started to josh us about it. We grinned and affirmed we had to. For some reason, I added that you just never know who might be an undercover or off-duty cop. The woman next in line said, “As a matter of fact…I am.” We carded her too.
You can find the most updated version of the A&S judging form for brewing here: Atlantia A&S Forms
The Atlantian Judging Guidelines are Atlantian Judging Guidelines:
The current version of the Guild forms are here:
Brewers Guild Competition Form
I am so sorry, everyone, I thought I’d published this back in March. I didn’t remember I’d meant to read it through one more time.
Raven’s Cove had done a bang-up job organizing this KASF. It was held at the Mad Boar in Wallace, NC, a beautiful restaurant with meeting rooms, and upstairs our main hall with a stage (Commedia!). It’s richly paneled in dark wood, with a deeply carved ceiling and stained glass here and there. Both Royal Brewer and Royal Baker competitions were downstairs in a wood paneled, crystal-lit side room, far enough from the madding crowd that we could concentrate. The organizers had put out plenty of signs, some quite humorous, so it was easy to find. In the room, there was a beautiful sign marking our table – and one for the Bakers, of course. Even though both Lord Rhys ap Terafan and I got there early to check out our arrangements, one Lord Eoghan had gotten there even earlier, and left both his entries and filled in judging forms for us. Gotta love a prepared man.
Somehow Lord Terafan judged the Persona Pentathlon in the morning, then came down and judged RB all afternoon. I might’ve had a single brain cell left after trying to do that, but he was taking it all in stride.
Our then-current Royal Brewer, Lord Brian Crawford, had been called away by mundane duties (something called “drill”) and could not be there to run the Royal Brewer competition this year. Lord Brian had been careful to announce the categories and guidelines for this year’s competition months in advance so people could prepare, but now he had to scramble to line up everyone and everything to run without him. He’d asked me to come judge quite a while ago, and he reached out to Lord Rhys ap Terafan, Atlantia’s first (and only other) brewing Laurel. Brian’s gracious wife, Lady Eleanor, was our go-between. She ported the Regalia, the venerable RB pitcher, and some beer (including his yummy take on William Harrison’s Ale) for the judges. Any day that starts with a gift of good beer must be propitious! Terafan and I promptly divided those up and set them aside to take home. Thank you Lord Brian!
We laid out the prizes for display- the Regalia, the venerable pitcher, and a gold-and-brown wood drink set that was my personal gift to the new RB. We laid out more judging forms, more pens, filled our own pitcher with water, set the dump bowl, towels and tasting glasses, and eyed the table crowded with bottles. This year’s competitors were going to earn bragging rights, this was going to be a stiff competition.
There are plenty of people who think the Guild just gets together to drink, and that judging competitions is just another excuse to get wobbly. Let me tell you, it ain’t like that. We had a lot of entries and only two hours to go through them all, trying to stay fair and consistent. Afterwards, one of us was going to have to speak to King Michael to inform him of our results and impressions and receive his selection of winners. One of us was going to have to stand up before King and Court and everyone to announce the results. As it turned out, I got Lord Terafan to do both of those things, though he asked me to write up the announcement.
Sometimes, especially in the SCA, one receives an unexpected, delightful gift of service. In our case, Lady Eilon bat Miriam stepped in to manage the scoring, sorting, and final calculations, mercifully keeping us organized. My ability to perform basic arithmetic crumbles when I’m “in combat” – don’t snicker, I’m slow on a good day. Lady Eilon totally took care of the administrative end of things.
First the beers – not too many this year, which was surprising. There are usually lots. Then the meads, sorted from traditional not-so-sweet to very sweet and/or strong flavored. Then the cordials – there were lots and lots of cordials, with flavors ranging from sweetly fruity to strongly botanical. I’m not saying it isn’t fun, and gratifying to see so many entries, but we were working so hard we gathered a peanut gallery of folks hanging out to listen and watch. All of them, of course, were brewers themselves, so we got to meet some new folks! (Well, not new to Atlantia necessarily, but new to us.) We shared tastings of particularly delightful or interesting brews with our onlookers after we’d finished our forms – always with one eye on the time.
We finished with about fifteen minutes to spare – enough time for Lord Terafan to go discuss things with His Majesty, and for me to get the Regalia and prizes upstairs to the main hall. I stopped to admire the new Regalia box Lord Brian had made. The old one was an aged men’s faux leather jewelry box which looked as though it had held cufflinks or a tie tack many, many years ago. It had served us well for a long time, but the new box (see the picture above) is much, much nicer.
Court went well; in fact it was one of the warmest and funniest Courts I’ve attended in quite a while. Lord Terafan thanked our outgoing RB Lord Brian. Lord Jaume de Monçó was duly installed as King’s choice for the next RB. I expect you’ll see him around, wearing his well-earned medallion with pride.
Submitted this day in honor of bee and brew,
First, a few guidelines:
1. It should be simple. Keep the fancy for personal and household devices. Any brewer should be able to paint this on something.
2. It should evoke Atlantia somehow. I don’t see tying Spike into brewing, despite the Royal Brewer’s badge (which has Spike between two mugs – see the picture on the left).
4. It should not look like other kingdom brewers guild badges – there aren’t very many of them.
5. It should reference beer, wine, mead, cordials, and our favorite non-alcoholics like vinegars, without discrimination. Our Guild includes all of these.
6. When people see it, they should be able to associate it with brewing without too much trouble.
7. It should be easy to get approved by the Kingdom and Society College(s) of Heralds. To that end, I’ve enlisted the aid of a couple of tireless book heralds, who know this stuff, and am allowing myself to be guided by them.
8. It should look nice.
So, we start with the basic shield shape, known as the field:
You gotta love a tabla rasa, a blank slate. The field is a good place to hint we’re Atlantians. Here’s the Kingdom device:
Usually you see white on the top/bottom or right/left, and blue in the middle, but we can go either way. Heraldically speaking, white is argent/silver and blue is azure. So let’s get some polling on which of these you prefer, and in what color order – or neither, and you’re going to email me your preference (firstname.lastname@example.org).
[wpdevart_poll id=”1″ theme=”1″]
[wpdevart_poll id=”3″ theme=”1″]
To one of those fields, let’s add a charge, or a figure. I vote we pick one thing to put smack in the middle of the middle stripe, no matter which way it goes.
According to the Heraldry Primer on the Atlantia website:
If the charge is on the white/argent/silver part, the charge itself can be gules/red, azure/blue, vert/green, purpure/purple, or sable/black.
If the charge is on the blue/azure part, the charge itself can be silver/argent or gold/or.
So let’s poll some more, while I have you here. What color shall our charge be?
[wpdevart_poll id=”2″ theme=”1″]
Other kingdoms use the following charges, so I suggest we avoid them:
Barrel – Aethelmearc
Cup and bunch of grapes – Caid
Beehive and grapes – East
Crossed malt rakes -Lochac
We don’t want to compete with our own brewing groups, Woodside Priory and the Company of St. Arnulf. Woodside uses a barrel, and I’m not sure that St. Arnulf’s has a badge of any sort. If I’m wrong, folks, let me know.
For charges that would pass Heraldic inspection, I consulted A Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry, by Master Bruce Draconarius of Mistholme. It was recommended on the Atlantia heraldry page. It’s been around a long time, but bless him, he’s put it online, and done a good job of converting it to a web-enabled tool rather than a flat document.
There are three ways to search the site. One is by first letter, another is by category. Not all the charges in there are indexed, some are only linked from other devices – vessel, for instance, links to quite a few. There’s also a link to “Full Alphabetical Search”. The search box works fairly well. If you can’t find one of the charges I mention below, don’t despair – try another route.
If you search by letter, you are getting all the charges that start with that letter. The only way to navigate then is to scroll to the bottom and click “older posts”. The one you want can be many pages in. I recommend the search box or
Master Bruce has marked each charge with a) whether it’s period and b) whether it’s passed before. Remember we want to reference beer, wine, mead, cordials, and non-alcoholics like vinegar, so we don’t want anything as specific as a malt rake anyhow. Here’s where it gets fun. We have lots of brewing-related choices. Not including the charges already used by other kingdoms, according to Master Bruce, we can choose any of these. You may have to scroll down the page to get to your item:
Drinking bowl (Misha makes these)
Cup/beaker/goblet- just not the one Caid uses, which has a small stem. There are several shapes available. For what it’s worth, I vote we avoid the British covered cup; no one will recognize it.
Bottell (leather, made for hanging, probably from a horse’s saddle)
Bucket (it’s a stretch)
Well (no picture given, only descriptions)
Mazer (Misha makes these)
Bottle (what are we, lushes?)
Bowl (looks a lot like the mazer, what a surprise)
Of these, there are several I like. The bottell is pretty cool – it was designed to carry on horseback, and I like the hint that we travel and share. Amphoras, flasks, and pitchers all invoke making in bulk and sharing, and are graceful besides. I like the mazer/drinking bowl a lot, but like the drinking horn, that may not appeal to everyone. There is probably a cup shape we all could work with – it just has to be different from Caid’s. If you don’t think there’s ever been a cup of vinegar, look to your hip socket – the part your thigh bone fits into is the acetabulum, the vinegar cup.
I think wells and buckets are a stretch for people to think of brewers. Bottles remind people of drunken bums, and we’re trying to get them to see us another way. Cauldrons are forever associated with witches; if we want to use any of the pots we’ll have to be careful to get one that’s recognizable. I’m not sure whether people would see a flask and assume we’re alchemists.
I could poll on this, but the tool only allows me to give you one choice. I think we need more discussion. Let me hear you! Leave a comment, post to the e-list, email me separately. What charges do you like, and why? Which one(s) do you prefer over others?
The Company of St. Arnulf wishes to congratulate Lady Evelynn Merrymet on winning our inaugural Specialty Ingredient Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to encourage brewers who experiment with unusual period ingredients, and we were delighted to taste Lady Evelynn’s spiced rosehip cordial, which featured, among other ingredients, fennel and rosemary.
We hope this competition will continue for many years to come, and it is with pleasure that we announce the lists for the next two years. Once again, judging will take place at the Company’s tavern at Ymir. The rules will be as before: we put out a list of ingredients, and ask that brewers prepare a beverage which features any two or more things on the list. The list changes every year (though some things make return from previous lists if we’d like to see more of them). Documentation is welcomed but not required; as our primary goal is to encourage brewers to familiarize themselves with unusual period brewing ingredients, we welcome inventive applications and so do not require that the beverage entered be a historical one.
As we know that makers of meads and cordials benefit from a sufficiently long time to age their product, we are also pleased to announce the list for 2017:
While the Guild is meant to include all brewers in the whole Kingdom, there are some local brewing groups in Atlantia. They’re really nice folks, and you might see them at an event and wonder who –? So, wonder no more; go up and introduce yourself instead. They’ll probably try to give you a beer.
Summer 2015: I hear tell of the Whitemarsh Brewers, a local group in central-ish Virginia. Stay tuned while I try to get more details.
The Company of St. Arnulf (mostly in their own words)
Where They Are: Mostly located in Windmasters Hill (though we have had some involvement from people elsewhere and are definitely open to more of that!).
Statement of Intent: The goal is tasty beverages that we can give away for free to support a better event atmosphere.
The Company uses their art for service, to create a space that is obviously welcoming to all members of the populace. We’re particularly interested in service to newcomers, for whom even the explicitly-open-to-all private camp parties can be an intimidating thing to try to find and enter. We do this by running a tavern at select events, and on occasion by supporting other groups that are putting on blatantly-open parties (we’ve often helped out a bit with the Elephant Stomp at Midnight At The Oasis, for instance). Because we are open to all, we strive to always have at least one non-alcoholic option at our tavern as well as the alcohol.
Brews They Favor: We try to keep our offerings varied; typically, this means we’re serving at least a dark beer, a pale beer, a cider, and a non-alcoholic at any given event. There is often a beer for hopheads and one that’s accessible for people used to macrobrews.
Where You Might See Them: We have typically run our tavern at WoW, Gem Joust, and Ymir. We have helped with the Elephant Stomp on a regular basis, and have been served at other major Kingdom events… Right now, we focus our efforts on the big events, but if our membership were to grow and get more spread out, we’d certainly be open to other members organizing and running taverns in other areas and events.
How to Reach Them: Their Facebook group “The Company of St. Arnulf” is definitely the best way to reach the group. Best contact person is Lord Jaume de Monçó, at craigbdaniel[AT}gmail.com.
To join: You have to be willing to help us run our tavern. You don’t even have to be a brewer (seriously we’d be delighted to have a couple good bartenders show up and volunteer even if they didn’t bring anything). Ultimately the point is to spread hospitality, and having other members organize taverns more locally to themselves would do precisely that.
Words to Live By: “Anyone who is able to help us fulfill that mission, and up for putting in the effort to do so, we want as a member. Let’s make this even more awesome.”
Mostly Tidewater-based, the brethren and sistren of Woodside Priory make some mighty fine beer. Keep an eye out for the Priory to set up at events, particularly around Tir-y-Don.
Bright Hills Brewers Guild
Currently mostly interested in cordials, but the focus changes with participants. They have a Yahoo group: https://groups.yahoo.com/group/BH_Brewers_Guild
Atlantian brewers have shared their knowledge with each other in many a Kingdom University and Collegium. Here are a few of the written resources developed for various classes. If you have some materials you think would benefit your fellow brewers, please send them to the webminister!
Beer Flavor Adjectives. Exercise your palate with this list of possible flavors. Mistress Sorcha Crowe
Beginner’s Mead Making Baron Edward Shirebrooke
Brewing William Harrison’s Beer: Lessons learned in redacting and brewing an authentic English Medieval Beer Brother Brian Crawford of Woodside Priory
Documentation and Competition as a Brewer Brother Brian Crawford of Woodside Priory
Documentation and Redaction for: William Harrison’s Beer, As made known to us in The Description of England Brother Brian Crawford of Woodside Priory